Why the U.N. Disregarded West Papua’s Latest Push for Independence From Indonesia

 Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017

In late September, an exiled political dissident and pro-independence leader from the Indonesian territory commonly known as West Papua submitted a petition to the United Nations calling, in part, for a vote on West Papua’s independence from Indonesia. The petition was reportedly signed by a large majority of native Papuan people before it was smuggled out of the territory. But the U.N. refused to accept it, in the latest setback for an independence movement that goes back decades. In an email interview, Greg Earl, a columnist for the Lowy Institute’s The Interpreter and a member of Australia’s ASEAN Council, discusses the history of the West Papuan independence movement, the fate of the petition at the U.N. and how the struggle relates to other leftover colonial fault lines in Southeast Asia.

WPR: Why are West Papuans pushing for independence from Indonesia, and how has this effort evolved? …

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